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Equality and Cultural Change in Scotland | Denton

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Organizations are increasingly focusing on their culture.In this topicalwe will explore how culture is often associated with equality and diversity considerations, how cultural change often occurs, and how different organizations have their Consider how you will approach the task.

What does Scottish cultural change look like?

A change in culture is generally a result of a specific area of ​​focus for management and staff (organizations may have a five-year plan to improve social mobility), or external factors (legal changes or By adoption trends, policies). Employers often look to the future to ensure an approach that is agile enough to change with society.

Culture changes can be more sudden. A pandemic is an example of an external factor that triggers momentary and dramatic changes in workplace norms in ways that are unexpected and beyond the control of an organization. However, the methods organizations choose to design their long-term response to Covid are better suited to the gradual cultural change category above. At the other end of the spectrum, companies are trying to foster a culture that brings people together in the office as much as possible.

Perhaps the most difficult forms of cultural change come from exposed problems. There are some recent examples of this happening within Scotland. This led to a public investigation when allegations of bullying were filed by NHS Highlands whistleblowers. I co-created a unique healing process. By listening to the issues raised and focusing on learning from them, they were able to not only help individuals but also understand how to build new cultures going forward. A famous Scottish brewery took staff complaints and made headlines, listening to complex situations and responding with a commitment to change the culture.

Cultural concerns don’t just concern employers. The issue of systemic racism was raised and publicly investigated within Edinburgh City Council Schools and cricket his Scotland.

These examples are of how cultural change may have arisen completely abruptly, or lingered in the background, but as a reaction to a particular issue that was not prioritized until the issue received more attention. The potential for high-profile issues is likely to be intertwined with areas of particular social concern at the time. It may have been related to related concerns.

Where does equality fit?

In Scotland, as elsewhere in the United Kingdom, equality legal requirements are primarily contained in the Equality Act 2010. At a minimum, organizations should ensure they meet these standards.

Sometimes cultural issues are directly related to each other. The racism case above is an example. So is the recent trend for employers to act to support those experiencing menopause in the workplace and to ensure greater inclusion based on gender identity and neurodiversity.

Other aspects of culture are not directly related to equality issues. Bullying and problematic work practices can affect all employees (although minorities may be most severely affected, even if the problem appears to affect everyone). It is not uncommon to have one).

Why is this a legal issue?

Issues of equality and culture arise in many situations. I see HR, training providers, and PR teams working on these points on a regular basis. It can also be a focus for leaders as they try to make sure their culture stands out for the right reasons and part of that is ensuring inclusiveness for all. Equality and culture will become commonplace in ESG plans and board agendas.

Don’t forget the legal aspect. Getting it wrong (by act or omission) can lead to serious legal claims, damage to your business, or a long way to producing meaningful improvements under scrutiny. Another important decision is whether and when it’s best to stand up, admit the problem, and apologize. This is not without legal risk, but it can be an important step towards bringing about real change. To choose the best course, it is important to understand the legal situation surrounding the issue.

From time to time I see examples where efforts to correct it inadvertently violate the Equality Act and actually cause new problems. This may be the result of excessive efforts to redress inequalities by focusing on positive discrimination. Providing support to underrepresented groups rarely justifies direct discrimination against others. Alternatively, the company may, again with good intentions, focus on issues that are currently high on the social agenda (e.g. special support for employees going through prolonged coronavirus or menopause). Providing that extra help is not a concern per se. Legal issues may arise if another employee with a disability feels that he or she is entitled to equal or greater benefits but does not receive the same level of support. . The Equality Act imposes obligations on employers to make reasonable adjustments to support employees with disabilities, with or without disabilities. In practice, when individuals with stigmatized conditions or mental health problems feel that their employer is going above and beyond to support others, but not themselves. , often raises legal concerns, especially if the other person is not technically disabled for equality purposes. activity.

How can you stay ahead of the curve?

  • Catching up is easier than catching up, so identifying cultural concerns before they become public issues is the first step. This includes practicing listening and paying attention to areas ripe for change.
  • When we notice a problem, we take steps to understand it, address it, and adjust our approach accordingly. Circumstances may call for rapid unilateral action led by the top. Otherwise, you’ll be engaging with people to make sure they’re heard. The processes you use to improve your culture are just as important as the solutions you put in place.
  • Agree to act and learn. Make sure these are meaningful and tailored to your business. In many cases, visible support from the top ensures that change actually happens.
  • Culture is an ongoing project, so keep it high on your strategic agenda in terms of monitoring progress in existing areas of change and identifying new ones.